The newest Harmony City Council member, Michael Himlie and returning mayor, Steve Donney were sworn in at the January 10 council meeting. Council member Kyle Scheevel was absent from the meeting, but had been sworn in earlier that day as well by City Attorney Greg Schieber.
The consent agenda was approved and included the claims and December checks, approval of the ABDO audit engagement for the 2022 audit, a SMIF donation, and the cash balances. PERA contributions were also approved for city office staff Samantha Grabau and Lisa Morken, as well as a $50 cell phone stipend for Morken, and Grabau’s attendance at LMC Clerk Training.
A public hearing was held to discuss the proposed Cannabinoid ordinance. Canton resident Cody Schultz commented that, during his time working in the legal industry in California, he had seen regulations hurt the recreational and medicinal sales of cannabis and asked the council to take that into consideration. Council member Jesse Grabau noted that Planning and Zoning had put the proposed ordinance together after much consideration and time. The public hearing was closed and the ordinance was adopted.
Harmony Area Chamber of Commerce board member Erica Thilges was present at the meeting to discuss the Chamber’s “Discovering Downtown Harmony” signage project. For the project, 13 cast aluminum signs would be installed on four lampposts directing visitors to city attractions such as shopping, dining, lodging, etc. Thilges had originally presented the project to the council for their approval at the October meeting. Since then, $6,500 has been raised towards the total cost of $13,420.97. Thilges asked the city to donate $5,000. The Chamber plans to apply for a grant from HACF for the remaining amount needed. The council approved the donation.
The 2023 council appointments were set and approved. The Harmony Community Center was set as the designated polling place for 2023 and 2024.
Cindy Vitse reviewed the Small Cities Development Program resolution with the council which included an agreement between the City of Harmony, CEDA, and SEMCAC and a number of policies required for the program to move forward. The council approved the resolution and policies.
A 3% Cost of Living Adjustment was approved for city staff. A progression of grades was added to the wage scale.
The council continued the discussion from last month’s meeting about the open administrator position. As of now, Lisa Morken and Samantha Grabau are running the city office without an administrator. “I think it’s more than two people can handle,” council member Jesse Grabau stated. The council decided to post for a part-time administrator position with half-benefits.
A letter was received from MiEnergy informing the city of a 6% increase in cost.
The EDA reported that a one-year extension was granted for the bike trail project, which will ensure that the 2018 bonding funds are not canceled in 2023. Because of this, the city will not be required to take on the management of the project at this time.
Himlie gave the Library Board report. The library is waiting for one more bid before hiring a company to clean its carpets. The annual circulation numbers were up last year.
The next Harmony city council meeting will be held on February 14 at 7 p.m.